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Indiana names new poet laureate

Adrian Matejka was named Indiana's new Poet Laureate.

Indiana named a new Poet Laureate, an Indiana University professor who's been a finalist for the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize and the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature.

The Indiana Arts Commission selected Adrian Matejka as the new Indiana State Poet Laureate after he was recommended by a selection committee representing the state's top universities.

"It is an unbelievable honor to be selected as the sixth Poet Laureate of Indiana and to have the opportunity to give back to the great state that has given me so much," Matejka said. "I can't imagine Mr. Dickerson and Mr. Morwick, the teachers who first encouraged me to write back at Pike High School, could have foreseen that their generosity and support would lead me to this incomparable distinction. I'm so grateful for them and for all of the teachers, friends, family, organizations, and readers who have supported my work over the years. I hope that I'll be able to continue the traditions of poetic celebration and outreach established by our previous Poets Laureate while also bringing some new community initiatives to the position. Right now, more than ever, we need poetry to remind us of the beauty that still surrounds us despite all of the seemingly unending anger and strife."

A graduate of Pike High School in Indianapolis and Indiana University, Matejka now serves as the Ruth Lilly Professor/Poet-in-Residence at Indiana University in Bloomington.

"I’m not sure about cooler, but definitely the most trash talkingist. I challenge *any* of the poets laureate to a game of horse at the HYPR," he tweeted after being called cooler than other states' poet laureates on Twitter.

Matejka has written several books including "The Devil's Garden," "Mixology," "The Big Smoke," and "Map to the Stars."

On Jan. 1, he will succeed current Poet Laureate Shari Wagner and serve a two-year term, promoting poetry throughout the state.

"Adrian Matejka is an exceptional poet who will be an excellent ambassador for the art of poetry in our state," said Stephanie Haines, IAC Community Development Manager, Arts Education and Accessibility Coordinator. "The Indiana Arts Commission looks forward to supporting his work connecting with communities across the state during his term as Indiana Poet Laureate."

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